This post of the Gay Pride Parade in Ottawa, Canada was written by Tam, a regular on the website. I guess Tam was not going to be overshadowed by Ingrid who posted her parade in Amsterdam on the water a few weeks ago. Enjoy!
Last weekend was the Ottawa Pride Parade (it was a whole 10 day Pride celebration culminating on Sunday with the parade and other activities). Why does Ottawa do Pride in August instead of June when the rest of the world celebrates? Ummm. No clue. Ottawa is Canada’s capital and there are about 1.5 million people living in the National Capital Region. It is primarily a government town with a good size high tech industry thrown in as well. Not a huge city but a nice place to live … except in winter. Then Florida looks very appealing.
My daughter and I headed down to the parade route Sunday around noon and got a great spot right across the street from Parliament in front of the tourism office which has a large courtyard. We also managed to find a chip truck where we could get poutine and sausages for lunch. So unhealthy, so yummy. About 20 min. before the parade started someone goes “Uh oh, we’ve got protestors.” Sure enough, in the courtyard area is a man holding a cross with something written on it and his friend is setting up beside him. I commented, “Well, as long as they’re quiet.” I think I jinxed it because he plugged in his portable microphone and proceeded to tell all the gays how they were going against God’s word, blah blah blah. I’m sure you know the drill. People tried to ignore him, then they started chanting “Go away! Go away!” One couple decided to give them their money’s worth and did a full on lip-lock. While the crowd was getting more antsy, there were two motorcycle cops just sitting in front of us keeping the street clear and watching this unfold. Finally a lady from the tourism office came out to the street and talked to one of the police presumably to ask him to get rid of the protestors. Finally he drove his motorcyle up on the sidewalk through the crowd and stopped right in front of the protestors. The crowd was cheering him on at that point. He said they couldn’t make them leave, it’s a public area and the protestors had the right to be there, but he did manage to get the guy to shut off the microphone. So while they hung around for the rest of the event they just stood there quietly, and once the parade started no one paid them any mind at all. Wouldn’t be a parade without a little excitement.
We had a good time. There were lots of people walking in the parade and because we’re a relatively small city, we’re no New York or Rio, there weren’t a lot of fancy expensive floats but plenty of enthusiasm from the crowd and many people marching. We also collected some loot along the way. There were pens, magnets, frisbees, lanyards, candy and of course the mandatory condoms. Not as many as I thought, but some. Even a green condom from the Green Party of Canada that says “heat up the bedroom not the planet”. There’s a message we can all get behind. 🙂
After the parade was over we joined in the huge crowd trailing behind towards the fair area. We were going to check it out but the line to get in was HUGE and the sky was starting to get dark again although the rain had stayed away during the parade. Thus we decided not to tackle the mob and just head home. There were a lot of families with small children and people of all ages, genders, and sexual preferences at the parade. Lots of color, lots of smiles and not too much skin. 😉 If you have a Pride parade in your city I recommend you check it out. It was great fun and who doesn’t like getting candy from cute boys?
Here’s a video of the parade that Tam swears took her hours and hours, but I’m sure sure she had lots of fun doing so